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  • Writer's pictureMeghan

Is Your Dog Stressed During the Holidays?

As the owner of two senior dogs, I am already recognizing an increase in their anxiety during this holiday season. It's not uncommon for dogs to experience anxiety during the holidays due to changes in routine, unfamiliar guests, loud noises, and various other factors. Here are some tips to help ease your dog's anxiety during this time:

  1. Maintain a Regular Routine: Try to stick to your dog's regular schedule as much as possible. This includes feeding times, walks, and playtime. Consistency can provide a sense of security for your dog.

  2. Create a Safe Space: Set up a quiet and comfortable space where your dog can retreat if they feel overwhelmed. This can be a designated room with their bed, toys, and some familiar items. Make sure this space is off-limits to guests.

  3. Provide Plenty of Exercise: Regular exercise is a great way to reduce anxiety. Make sure your dog gets enough physical and mental stimulation through walks, playtime, and other activities.

  4. Use Calming Products: Consider using products designed to help calm dogs, such as calming collars, pheromone diffusers, or anxiety wraps. There are also natural supplements and calming treats available, but it's important to consult with your vet before introducing new products.

  5. Introduce New People Gradually: If your dog is not used to being around a lot of people, introduce them gradually. Allow your dog to approach new guests on their terms, and don't force interactions. Make sure guests are aware of your dog's needs and ask them to respect your dog's space. Anybody coming into my home knows to let my fearful dog approach them first. High pitched "baby talk" with many dogs is a great way to get them confortable, but not for all dogs.

  6. Avoid Harmful Foods: During the holidays, there may be tempting foods around that can be harmful to dogs. Keep chocolate, alcohol, bones, and other potentially toxic foods out of reach.

  7. Provide Distractions: Keep your dog occupied with toys and activities. Puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys can be particularly effective in keeping their minds engaged.

  8. Play Soothing Sounds: Playing calming music or white noise can help drown out loud or unfamiliar sounds that might be causing anxiety for your dog.

  9. Consult with Your Vet: If your dog's anxiety is severe, consult with your veterinarian. They may recommend behavior modification techniques, prescription medications, or other interventions tailored to your dog's specific needs.

Remember that every dog is unique, so it might take some time to figure out what works best for your furry friend. Patience, understanding, and a bit of extra TLC can go a long way in helping your dog feel more comfortable during the holiday season. #petanxiety #holidayswithdogs #dogstress

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